My Observations–From the Bird Watcher

Finally, I get a word in edgewise.  Lately, Kara has been hording this blog.  I think she’s forgotten that I get first billing here, note the name, “The Bird Watcher & The Artist.”

I actually just want to take a minute to apologize to the Pine Siskin.  In the painting, Feuding Siskins, I depict them as feisty, hyper, unruly little birds, which they are, but there is another side to them as well.

"Feuding Siskins"  First painting in The Bird-Watcher Series.
Here I am, amongst the “Feuding Siskins” First painting in The Bird-Watcher Series.

In my defense, several years ago when I was first introduced to them there was a flock of 20-30 birds that would fly into our feeders and proceed to fight and peck for food, chattering the whole time.  It was a constant mayhem of activity.  I’d missed seeing them the last couple of years but this fall a few came back–only six–and wintered over.  They are much calmer when there are only six.  Yes, every once in a while they have a squabble but nothing like the feuds they had as a larger flock.  So please, Pine Siskins, accept my apology for making you out to being little fighters when you are also lovers.  Thank you!

A group of male red winged blackbirds.

On to the Red Winged Blackbird.  They are everywhere these days, singing and chirping at the top of their lungs.  One odd thing I’ve noticed lately is what segregationists they are?  When I see them out in nature I am reminded of the private high school I attended years back.  When we went to the cafeteria to eat there were two lines, one for the boys and one for the girls–same food, different lines (I know, it still makes no sense to me).  When we assembled together the boys sat on the left side and the girls on the right.  Although times have changed, even at the school I attended, the Red Winged Blackbird custom has not.  They are still, predominately males with males, females with females–creatures of habit I guess.  However, today on my walk, I noticed several single males staking out and protecting their territories and calling for mates.  Just down the road I noticed a whole flock of streaky, large sparrow like females, some of which had developed the beautiful bright orange streak near their eyes.  With them were common grackles and a robin or two thrown in.

A few of young female red winged blackbirds.  Both pictures were taken the same day, at the same location.
A few young female red winged blackbirds. Both pictures were taken the same day, at the same location.  This was the first time I really noticed the segregation.

I still don’t know the reason for their segregating.  If anyone out there does it’d be interesting to hear about.  One thing I do know, it’s not because they are a pure and pious bunch of birds.  On the contrary.  A male can have up to 10 mates a year and often the females will have been unfaithful as well with another rival parenting an offspring or two in the nest.  I’m not here to judge their motives, characters and habits (I don’t think a bird cares about character or would know what a motive was, just instinct).  They still remain one of my favorite birds in regard to their singing abilities.  I love their courage in protecting their home front and I appreciate that even though male and females don’t always hang out with each other, they are open to inviting friends with other feathered patterns to join their flock.

If you haven’t had a chance to get out and listen to or have your curiosity piqued by our feathered friends, I’d like to invite you to go for a walk.  There is nothing like letting your worries roll off your back as you are serenaded with sights and sounds of all the creatures around you.

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